The Canadian economy added 29,000 jobs in January, marking a recovery from December’s surprise job losses. The latest Labour Force Survey from Statistics Canada shows that the national unemployment rate dropped down to 7.0%.

The employment gains in January were largely in the private sector, and they marked an increase in people working full time. The economy added 50,000 full-time jobs last month, while it shed 21,000 part time positions.

These gains mean that 2014 is off to a strong start for job creation, as 29,000 more people working is nearly twice the average monthly employment gains that we have seen over the past six months.

Sectors seeing job gains

There were 25,800 more people working in service jobs last month and 3,600 more working in the production of goods in January. Year-over-year, there are 27,000 fewer people working in manufacturing – although Quebec saw slight gains in this sector last month.

Since January of 2013, the Canadian economy has added 146,000 jobs. Most of these are in five key sectors: professional, scientific and technical services; finance, insurance and real estate and leasing; health care and social assistance; utilities; and natural resources.

The Transport and Warehousing sector was the big winner in January – with 15,000 jobs being added.

These gains correspond with Workopolis observations of employer behaviour on our website. Analysis of resume searches and job postings shows increasing demand for healthcare workers and skilled trades people as well as professionals in finance, technology and transportation. Our detailed report on the hiring trends and in-demand skills for 2014 will be released next week.


Ontario gained back the jobs it lost in December, and the provincial unemployment rate fell to 7.5%. Year-over-year, Canada’s largest province has seen 54,000 more jobs created.

While there was little change in employment in Alberta in January, that province has added 70,000 jobs over the past 12 months, nearly half of the country’s overall gains.

Saskatchewan continues to have the lowest unemployment rate of all the provinces at 4.3%.

Employment in Prince Edward Island rose by 1,000 in January, and the unemployment rate was 11.3%. This leaves both the level of employment and the unemployment the same as they were in January of 2013.

New Brunswick lost 2,400 jobs last month, also leaving employment at about the same level as is was at this time last year.

Looking ahead

Based on employer behaviour and other key economic indicators, Workopolis expects to see continued gains in job creation over the course of February. We are forecasting another positive labour report with slow but steady increases in employment for next month.

Peter Harris
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